Living in the Southern Hemisphere I’ve always been a little confused about the whole back to school thing that trends around this time of the year. South of the equator, the school starts in mid-January after a long December holiday. The school year and the calendar year are in sync, all nicely lined up 😀 So it feels a little weird when all my blogging friends start talking about back to school gift ideas in August. Well it used anyway until my son went to study Psychology in Canada. Now I understand, well kinda. I’m still trying to get used to it. Calin spent his “summer” vacation here in South Africa and he flew back to Canada this weekend. Sniff sniff 🙁 I’m so proud of him, but Canada is sooooooo far away and 8 months feels like forever before he comes home again.
I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with a back to school, or in his case, back to uni gift. I wanted to make something different and as unique as what he is. He loves fantasy, history, people and learning about strange facts that no one else knows. The only idea I could come up with was to make a journal so he could jot down his ideas or write that best seller that I know is bubbling inside him. Something that perhaps the hobbits or even Gandalf would use to document their adventures through Middle Earth.
Just like Tolkien, I thought I’d use those old medieval manuscripts as inspiration for the journal. That is until I read that in those days paper was made from new-born goats or calves. Ummmm nope, I can’t do that. I love my son to bits but there are limits. Did you know that some manuscripts were even bound in human flesh??!!! UGH, no, no, no – that’s just beyond creepy. It might be something that Sauron would do, but not me.
Plan B – Brown Paper Bags
I have a whole bunch of these bags in the craft cupboard. They come in so handy when you can’t find that darn roll of wrapping paper 😉 and they happened to be the right size for making Calin’s Lord of the Rings inspired journal. I just needed to cut off the handles and one of the sides. I left the other side alone to add some substance to paper and hopefully a bit of strength to the binding. I’ve never bound a manuscript before so I was just trying to figure it out as I went along. Can you tell?
The hubby used a punch to make some holes along the long edge of the paper bags. Two holes on the outer edges of paper and three in the middle. They say 7 is a magic number in Psychology and in numerology it’s represents the seeker, the thinker and the searcher of Truth (with a capital T), which kinda reminds me of my son 😉
So now I had a whole bunch of brown paper bags with holes in them. Pretty boring and not very inspiring right? It needed a bit more.
And So The Journey Begins
I found this awesome font called Angerthas. It automatically converts text into the cirth runes used by the the Dwarves in Moria. My son is a HUGE fan of the Lord of the Rings and besides learning the Chinese alphabet in his spare time, he’s pretty good at reading cirth too. I used the font to translate two of his favorite songs and printed them onto the outer pages of the journal, which were then painted with resin to mimic oilskin.
When the resin had dried, the pages were bound together using strips of leather. A skewer helped to align the holes nicely.
The first time I tried binding the paper together I tied the leather strips too tightly and the manuscript was really difficult to open. Oh well you live and learn.
I found it best to open the journal up and then tie the knots, so there’s some play in the binding.
As a final touch we used a piece of faux leather to make a cover. Don’t you just love that web that we burnt into the leather? It’s part of the new Halloween inspired Thinlits Dies from Sizzix and as one of their Creative Team Members we got to try it out before it hit the shops.
Hopefully my little hobbit will use his Lord of the Rings inspired journal to capture his thoughts and ideas. I probably shouldn’t call him that, since he’s just turned 20 😀
Do you make gifts for you kids when they go back to school? Please share in the comments, I’d love to see what you’ve done. And if you like this idea, don’t forget to pin. Wishing you a beautiful week filled with lots of love as always